For the first time in history, four generations of people are all working side by side. Each generation tends to carry different ideals, values, and styles. These characteristics vary tremendously from generation to generation and when opposed they can cause numerous conflicts within society.
It’s obvious to me that my generation is vastly different from that of my grandparents generation. I have way too many personal examples to include in this article, so I will just talk about one instance that happened only a week ago.
My grandparents came over for dinner at my house, and we started having a conversation about sports. My little sisters (primarily black) basketball team got brought up and instantly, as if they had a gun held to their head or something, my grandparents just start professing their love for the African culture and black people in America. That might sound fairly normal, but trust me, this wasn’t. They were saying completely OP things like “Black people are such kind people” or “I really treasure my time when I am around a black person!” My grandparents were trying so hard to not seem like they were uncomfortable around different cultures and ethnicities that it became even more apparent that they were uncomfortable around different cultures and ethnicities.
This kind of behavior is actually something I have noticed a lot around my grandparents, and I am sure you, as a reader, have noticed the same thing around older people in your family.
Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful that my grandparents at least try to hide their discomfort. Many of my friends grandparents don’t make an effort to sound welcoming of other ethnicities and instead they are blatantly and obnoxiously racist.
Whether or not they made an attempt to hide it, I was kind of confused why it seemed like so many older people acted like this.
After thinking about it for a long time, I eventually came to discover that my grandparents and I had such different ideologies because we were separated by many generations. The more I thought about it, the more it started to make sense that my grandparents, and other old people like them, acted much differently than my parents generation, and my generation due to the extraordinarily different environments that they were raised in. Before I go any further with this article, it is important to point out that I in no way condone or agree with this behavior, but that I do understand it. Similar to the way some German citizens had been brainwashed in the late 30’s and the early 40’s, so too had my grandparents and generations before them been brainwashed (albeit to a lesser extent) by the environment in which they grew up.
Racial issues aside, there is actually a lot more that separates my generation from theirs. I was really curious to find out what else makes us so different, so I did some googling and I found a massive amount of information about each generation. I then decided that since I have taken the oath of chastity, sobriety, and avoidance of fun in general, I would have more than enough time to write it all out for you. So I did. And I will be damned if you don’t read it.
Let’s start with the really old people – the ones that are extremely rare, and very closely resemble dried fruit.
The Lost Generation (ages 110 – 130)
These guys are like Yoda. If you find one treasure your time with them, they will not be around much longer. To be honest, they are so rare that I don’t really know if they even deserve a spot in this article. There are only a handful of them left in the world. The ones that are still alive are so over living, that I think they actually want to die. Take this video for instance, this lady is so obviously sick of life.
G.I. Generation (ages 87 – 110)
Next we have the G.I. generation. This is the generation both of my grandparents come from. This generation is also known as “The Greatest Generation” and that is mostly because it produced some of the most amazing people.
This generation survived the Great Depression, went on to fight in WWII and then came home and all had babies, giving us the Baby Boomer’s. But besides just surviving, they did a lot of cool stuff too.
The G.I. generation were children during the Progressive Movement. They experienced the first Boy/Girl scouts, vitamins, pasteurized milk, and laws to keep children out of hard labor and in school. They even experienced Prohibition. This generation was raised to be educated, healthy, and cooperative in order to build a stronger America.
As this generation came of age, they became the heroes of Iwo Jima and D-Day, and the selfless citizens that planted trees and built dams. They were truly the respectable, hardworking generation that the American public had been hoping for.
This generation was hands down the most impressive generation in American history. They were a generation of achievers. In their time, they experienced the largest gain in educational attainment in US history, from 10% of students receiving high school diplomas at the start of the generation to 50% of students getting diplomas at the end of the generation. Besides that, they became the first generation whose middle class was able to attend college in large numbers. Before them it was only the richest of the rich who were able to go to college. Plus they won over 100 Nobel Prizes, which, to this day, still accounts for the majority of Nobel Prizes awarded to Americans.
No wonder old people always seem to constantly complain about ‘the good old days’.
The Silent Generation (ages 70 – 87)
This generation is kind of random. They are stuck in between the popular G.I. Generation, and the even more popular Baby Boomers. Not many cool things happened during this generation, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t produce some impressive humans.
This generation is often thought of as the ‘luckiest generation’ simply because they were born at a time in which the economy was greatly in their favor. They rose to adulthood when many companies were hiring, and they were able to ride the huge economic wave, that started with their generation, throughout their entire life.
These guys came of age just after World War II. They were much different than the generation before them. Instead of trying to change the system (like the G.I’s), these guys wanted to play by the rules. They cared deeply about their future and were determined not to do anything in their youth that may jeopardize it. They became adults during the McCarthy era (when America was extremely scared of communists) and thus they kept their heads down and their mouths shut, giving them the label ‘The Silent Generation.’
Unlike the ‘take chances’ kind of attitude that is so proudly promoted in younger generations today, the Silent Generation had a motto of ‘take no chances.’ Every action they took was cautious and calculated. They started families incredibly young and they began planning for retirement before they hit the age of 25.
For some reason whenever I picture the Silent Generation I picture thousands of Bob Saget’s just roaming around, going about their life doing regular Bob Saget stuff.
Baby Boomers (ages 52 – 70)
The Baby Boomers are by far the most talked about generation. They are famous for as many things as they are infamous. There are a lot of people from this generation due to the fact that many soldiers returning from WWII decided to have children immediately following the war. This led to a huge influx in population, and it gave us the Baby Boomers.
Baby Boomers have been the center of a lot of anger and annoyance in the last few years. They are usually blamed for the condition that America is in today, and they are often seen as being selfish for ‘eating up all the economic opportunity’ and ‘leaving the bones to the generations following.’ The Baby Boomer generation rose to adulthood during some of the strongest job growths in US history. In that time, one earner could typically support an entire family.
Now that the Baby Boomer generation is starting to get old and retire, they are receiving all the benefits of Social Security. They claim that they paid what was due and that they should be able to reap the rewards. However, this isn’t the case. Many believe that the Baby Boomers are the reason the economy is so terrible and that they should have to help clean it up, rather than leave the mess to the generations that have since followed. For instance, on average, those who are just now receiving social security benefits (baby boomers) will end up drawing $200,000 more from social security and medicare than they ever gave to either of these programs. Since social security benefits increase faster than inflation, Baby Boomers will enjoy larger checks from the program than their parents ever did.
On a more positive note, Baby Boomers were involved in some cool shenanigans. For instance, the boomers matured during the establishment of Woodstock. They erected the general ‘hippy movement’ and were rebellious to the government. They were polar opposites to the generation before them, choosing to go against the grain rather than with it.
And in a way, I suppose those type of rebellious actions should be praised, because, whether the rest of the country would like to admit it or not, America would not be nearly as innovative as it is if risk taking and rebellion were not a part of its culture — and we definitely have the Baby Boomers to thank for that.
Oh, and also, the easiest way to spot a Baby Boomer is simple – the man, or woman who will NEVER shut up about how great the 60’s were.
Generation Jones (ages 49 – 60)
This generation is also kind of random, except for the fact that my parents, and pretty much all of my friends parents are members of it. Oh, and Obama too.
Generation Jones is awkwardly sandwiched in between the latter half of the Baby Boomer generation, and the beginning of Generation X. Although I know many wonderful people born in this generation, due to the sheer disappointment they had to endure, I am pretty glad I am not a part of this generation (though I am sure they are probably equally glad they are not part of my generation).
This generation was given huge expectations as children in the 60’s and then grew up to face a reality nothing like those expectations. As stated previously, it seems that the Baby Boomer Generation which came immediately before Generation Jones seemed to ‘eat up the economy.’ The economy took a turn for the worst after the Baby Boomers were done with it, and it left the new generation to scavenge desperately for jobs. This reality is the reason why many Generation Jones members are pretty bitter to those belonging to the generation before them.
Those born during this time came of age with technology like the Apple Macintosh. This means that unlike their predecessors, they are much more ‘in-touch’ with technology and also they are more willing to adapt to the ever-changing world of technology.
Needless to say, this generation was massively different than the one before them.
Generation X (ages 31 – 49 )
Generation X was born during the single most anti-child phase in US history. So, if you are alive and a part of Generation X, give yourself a pat on the back and then call up your parents and say thank you. This ‘anti-child’ phase was due to the birth control pill being introduced in the early 1960’s as well as the legalization of abortion in 1973.
Generation X’ers came of age during the introduction of video games to American households. This led to a ‘loner status’ that often accompanied many young males growing up during this time. In recent times though, these ‘loners’ have reconnected with others over Facebook, who’s user base consists of mainly Generation X’ers.
Generation X’ers have a large distrust of authority. This is due to growing up in a time where a lot of corrupted, and fraudulent events molded a crooked image of the government and other large institutions, imprinting this distrust of authority in the general publics mind. These events included the Watergate Scandal in the 70’s, the Iran Contra disaster in the 80’s, the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster, and the Dot Com Boom and Bust of the 90’s.
Generation X was the first generation to be mostly open to diversity. They came of age during the Civil Rights movement and they grew up not really caring about the color of ones skin (watching Bill Cosby, attending diverse schools, etc). This was a massive difference in attitude compared to the generations before.
Also, Generation X’ers were, are, and always will be EXTREMELY heartbroken that Kurt Cobain died. If you mention his death around a Gen x’er, you are risking your health, your future, and the future of your loved ones. Proceed cautiously.
Generation Y (ages 16 – 31)
The people who are from this generation are also known as ‘Millennials’. It is the generation that I am from, as well as all of my friends. Now, without sounding too biased, I think my generation is pretty great – despite the horrible economy that we are forced to deal with.
Generation Y has gotten a pretty bad rap recently. It really bothers me when I hear older generations condemn my generation, or call them lazy. Obviously there are some lazy people in my generation, but there were some lazy people in your generation too, you old geezer.
Millennial’s possess a lot of amazing qualities. For starters, we are the least racist generation in United States history. We grew up (most of us at least) entirely accepting of others, no matter what color they may be. Also, we are the least homophobic. To a millennial, it doesn’t matter if you are straight or gay, you treat the person the same – with respect and dignity, regardless of their sexual orientation. Millennials are also the most politically, environmentally, and worldly conscious in United States history.
To everyone who thinks the jobless millennial’s are just being lazy, this is for you:
Millennials are coming of age in a time that has been the worst for job hunting since the Great Depression. Worse than Generation Jones. If you are from the Baby Boomer generation and you happen to be complaining that Millennial’s are being lazy about job’s, shut your mouth right now. Millennial’s haven’t been exposed to even half of the economic benefits that Baby Boomer’s experienced when they entered the work force. Times have changed, and Millennial’s are certainly not the one’s to blame for the state of our economy.
Tangent aside, though I’m biased towards my own generation, I realize it also has it’s faults. For instance, Millennial’s have been associated with a false sense of entitlement as well as increased narcissism. Millennial’s have been ‘babied’ by their parents and society and are not used to ‘learning things the hard way.’ Generation Y has a stereotype of ‘being soft’ and it is made more prevalent when you see things like participation medals or 9th place ribbons given out at sporting events. Millennial’s have grown up believing that everyone should be awarded for trying, regardless of whether they win or lose. This mindset contradicts greatly with how the world is actually run and it can (and often has) prove harmful in the business world.
Since I am at the end of Generation Y, I can’t really call myself a true ’90’s kid.’ Many Millennial’s do however consider themselves 90’s kids. And they are fierce and aggressive about it. Just like a gang.
Generation Z (ages 15 – 0)
This is the newest generation and easily the one with the least creative name. There is Generation X, followed by Generation Y (but everyone just calls them millennial’s) and finally, as if the people who come up with these names just gave up, there is Generation Z. C’mon.
Generation Z is currently composed of kids who cannot yet drive. There is not much data to really determine how these kids are going to be when they are adults, but we can still guess.
This generation grew up hooked on technology. I’ve always been around technology, but this generation is something different, they actually are hooked. For example, I could take away my 8 year old cousins iPad from him, or I could just save myself some time and punch myself in the throat. Either way I am getting punched in the throat.
Now that I brought my cousin up, I am going to go ahead and just base their entire generation off of him. I don’t care if that doesn’t sound fair. So first and foremost, his name is Rafferty (Ra-fur-tee), so one obvious assumption I can make about Gen Z is they all have shitty names. Second, Generation Z people forget your name for like a year or two and call you Pablo at Thanksgiving and Christmas, even though your name is not even remotely similar to Pablo. This in turn, confuses your elder family members, especially your senile Grandfather who already has a hard time remembering your name in the first place. Third, Generation Z refuses to eat apples from the ages of 4 – 7 unless they are dipped in caramel.
Good luck Generation Z.